Saturday, September 09, 2017

Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Katia: September 8, Update C

Time for ice cream. A double helping today I think. 

Still no news from Tom and Sheri J. on St. Thomas. If anyone knows anything, I can be contacted via pigeon-carrier, twitter, smoke rings, fb, light signals, email, coconut telegraph….

Hurricane Irma
Her outer rain-bands have reached the Keys and South Florida. But as she interacts with Cuba (primarily) and Florida (secondarily) and the little islands of the Bahamas (tertiarily), she definitely appears weaker with much less water vapour (the green satellite imagery) and fewer big thunderstorms (the infrared satellite imagery):
You can see that the rain bands are a little broken, with a ‘drier’ section encroaching into them. Her overall appearance is a little more ragged and the eye is very much smaller now. I would guess that she is a cat 3 at this time (maybe a weak cat 4). However, officially she is still a cat 5 storm with winds of 160mph, even though that is what she was when she made landfall. I think they are waiting to send a plane in to get new in situ data instead of making that call (which is obvious at this point in time), or maybe they are just catching a quick nap. I hope the next update will show reflect what the satellite imagery is so clearly showing. 

She has finished her little westward jog for now, and it looks like she is back on a WNW track with her center at 22.3N, 78.2W. This WNW motion is within the cone of uncertainty, which shows that she will move along the northern coast of Cuba for the next few hours:
There is still a little wriggle room in that cone, so whether she skirts the land or over water will make a difference to her intensity. Although she still has to cross some warm water to get to Florida/the Gulf area, starting from a weaker point is always helpful... and also, it looks like around the latitude of Lake Okeechobee, the wind shear will start to increase so anything north of there should get a weaker storm from that too. 

After Florida depends very much on when she makes that turn and also on her intensity, so I will hold on that conversation until tomorrow. 

For those in Florida, please pay attention to the entire cone – she can go anywhere in that area. I know many are staying and have boarded up, which is great if you are not in a flood zone. If you are in a flood zone, please ‘run away, run away’- to a shelter inland a bit is fine. Some tips:
- Don't forget to empty out your fridge and freezer. 
- If you need to store something in a water-proof container, you can use the dishwasher. 
- You should also take photos of your house and belongings now for proof (evacuating or not) – and don’t use Beyonce’s home photos from a magazine because Vickie C. already has that one in the bag and the insurance companies would be very suspicious if they saw if everyone had the exact same layout, décor and 'took' identical photos. 
- Oh, also, don’t forget to take your children and pets with you!

Speaking of evacuation, if you have been to Key West, you will know that there are chickens running around all over the place. Well the Great Chicken Evacuation of 2017 is underway (kudos to whoever did this)…
(No, these are not undercooked chicken burritos!) (Thanks Heidi S. for sharing that one!)

Hurricane Jose
He’s now officially a cat 4 storm with winds of 155mph, central pressure of 938mb, based on data from a plane that was sent in to investigate. But a cat 4 storm range is 130-156mph, so he might as well be a cat 5. From the NHC:

It is surprising that Jose is as strong as the aircraft data suggests, since the hurricane's satellite appearance has degraded a little during the last several hours.

Yes. Yes, it is surprising, but as I said this morning, his structure is now more complicated because of the low-pressure trough that is over him, in the upper troposphere, so we shouldn’t really be surprised that the winds are higher even though he doesn’t look as good – we’ve seen this before. His eye almost vanished a few hours ago, which I think was from the wind shear that I mentioned before, but I’m afraid that’s it between him and the islands as far as shear goes now:
You can see some wind shear as the clouds are being pulled off to the northeast. You can also see the outer bands of Irma to the southwest in this image. He almost caught up to her, but not quite.  I would actually say he is a strong cat 3 storm, maybe a weak cat 4, as the eye is not a solid structure but is fluctuating so much. Maybe winds of around 125-135mph would be my estimate. But the NHC have actual measurements, so I will go with their analysis on this one.  

He is currently at 17N, 59.5W, heading WNW at 14mph, and is getting closer to Barbuda:
He is forecast to edge to around the north of the islands tomorrow, so at least it should not be a direct hit, but some of the rain-bands will go over the islands there (the outer clouds are passing over Barbuda already), so they will get some more stormy weather, and of course, storm surge along the coast.

Hurricane Katia
As you know, I have disagreed with the NHC on the intensity of Katia for most of the time. I pulled this satellite image earlier today, when they said she had winds of 105mph (a cat 2 storm):
And this is her at landfall:
I think their estimates are a little high on her, but it’s a moot point now because she made landfall north of Tecolutla, Mexico about an hour ago (10pm CDT) as a cat 1 storm with winds of 75mph and is rapidly fizzling out over the Sierra Madre’s. This is my last post on Katia.

I’ll be up early to see if Irma deteriorated some more overnight, and to see if Jose is really going to avoid the Leeward islands. It’s going to be one of those days tomorrow! But for now it is time to give my “sizzling brain pan a moment to cool” (from ‘The Tick’ – which is hilarious, and has one of our friends in it – Tyler Bunch! Woohoo!)!

Stay safe, be good, and get some rest for a long few days ahead (as if it hasn’t been a long month already!)

Night everyone!

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know. 

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